So the Black Lips went on a tour in the Middle East a while ago and to be honest I’m a teensy bit bummed no one got arrested or shot or became a political prisoner anything. Like, I’m really happy they’re safe and sound and all, but I was secretly hoping for an international crisis that would later lead to the band publicly offending  Anderson Cooper on CNN and also maybe a Lifetime original movie or something. But alas, no. The Lips played Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, and Cyprus, and according to these photos that Jared Swilley took, it was pretty much like any other tour (beers, cigs, Cole participating in shenanigans) except with more camels and pyramids and stuff.

Here is Jared’s photo diary, along with his accompanying witty and incisive captions:

Here is Ian at the Pyramids. While visiting the Pyramids almost every conversation we had had to do with aliens. Particularly the ancient kind. Thanks for making us stupider, History Channel.

This is our tour manager Nadim. Even though he grew up in the desert he sucks at riding camels.

This is the Burj-something in Dubai. It’s the tallest building in the world. It’s pretty ugly and only got built because of some sort of rich guy’s dick measuring contest.

This was the view I had pretty much the entire time I was in Dubai. I went skating with a bunch of teenagers in Egypt the day before and thought I broke my leg because I couldn’t walk, so I sat in bed and drank beers and smoked (you can still do that indoors there) all day pouting until I could walk again.

I never got a chance to spend any money in Iraq so this was the only souvenir I brought back.

That’s just my visa. You aren’t supposed to smile in visa photos.

This was our stage setup in Iraq. It was at a cultural center and they had put on a play the night before. We told them not to take the decorations down.

We were on national TV in Lebanon. It was a weird show that was some sort of a hybrid between a Sesame street, Xuxa and TMZ. They had no idea who we were and called us the Black Keys the whole time.

This guy was stuntin outside of the oldest inhabited city on earth. Just outside Erbil, Iraq.

Cole was the most convincing looking Arab out of all of us.

The Pyramids look really beautiful and tranquil here, but behind me there were a bunch of Bedouins on horseback and police fighting with each other over something. It was really chaotic and the police don’t seem to have much control there. The Bedouins pretty much run the show. The vendors are pretty intense too. One little kid was harassing us the whole time, and later we saw him giving lip to some of the older guys next to the Sphinx. I guess he ran his little mouth too much because someone pulled out a bullwhip and cracked him on the leg with it while another guy picked up a scorpion and threw it in his face.

This is just some cold coffee drink that happened to have the same last name as Ian.

There were a bunch of caves outside of Beirut so we spent the better part of a day spelunking.

Some guy built a palace in Lebanon so we went to look at it.

This is us on our tourist day in Lebanon. Didn’t even want to take this picture.

That’s the old Holiday Inn in Beirut. During the civil war it was the most strategic building in the city and pretty much every faction involved in the conflict took it over at some point. It’s still pockmarked with lots of bullet and rocket holes.

The apartments in Beirut are beautiful. This was our tour manager Nadim’s place. That room was hit by a rocket during the war while Nadim and his dad were inside. They left for a while after that.

18. That’s another picure of the children’s/gossip show we were on. I wasn’t familiar with any of the Middle Eastern celebrities they were dishin’ on.

This was in Larnaca, Cyprus, our first stop on the tour.

We stopped at two truck stops in Egypt on the way to Alexandria. Both truck stops had monkeys in cages.

This is Allen from Lazzy Lung, the Lebanese band we toured with. He’s trying to do some technical shit that I don’t understand.

Some stupid tourist picture they made me take. It’s the Giza equivalent to the obligatory Pisa picture.

Follow the Black Lips on Twitter for more of their delightful musings. If the spelling is perfect, it’s Jared. If not, it’s Cole. Or drunk Jared.

Yasi Salek

About Yasi Salek

likes parentheses.